Canada has a rich history when it comes to cigarette packaging, with several changes that have taken place over the years. These changes have taken the industry in different directions, thanks to advancements in print technology, health concerns, and regulatory bodies. It’s amazing how cigarette packaging has evolved over time to meet changing customer preferences and the overall impact it has had on sales and marketing. In this blog post, we explore the evolution of cigarette packaging in Canada, including the challenges and benefits that came with each shift cigarettes canada.
The Classic Cigarette Packaging Era
Packaging is essential for the sale and promotion of cigarettes. The earliest cigarette packaging in Canada was plain white paper with no graphics or warnings, making it easy for anyone to get their hands on cigarettes. As the decades went on, cigarette advertising gradually became more aggressive and evolved with stylish graphics and designs that conveyed a higher quality product. Several cigarette companies created iconic logos such as the Benson & Hedges coat of arms and the Marlboro man. Cigarette pack art was also popularized, which showed cigarettes as glamorous, luxurious, and sophisticated.
The Health-Conscious Era of Cigarette Packaging
As the dangers of smoking became more evident, governments around the world shifted their focus to public health campaigns that emphasised the harmful effects of smoking and its detrimental impact on people’s health. This led to a shift in cigarette packaging, with governments requiring tobacco companies to include smoking-related health warnings in their packaging. Canada was one of the first countries globally to incorporate health warnings in cigarette packaging. Large warnings and graphics to caution against the effects of smoking became mandatory, with additional warnings stacked side-by-side on the packaging.
The Innovations Era of Cigarette Packaging
As tobacco companies turned their attention to innovation and differentiation, they looked for new ways to stand out in an increasingly competitive market. And with the rise of e-cigarettes and other smokeless nicotine alternatives, there was a need to create new packaging designs to promote these products. Package designs now come in various shapes and formats that aim to increase the appeal of the product. There are now capsules in filter cigarettes that deliver an explosion of flavour and aroma upon crushing.
The Plain Packaging Era of Cigarette Packaging
In 2011, Australia became the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging laws for cigarettes. The package design required that all tobacco products had a uniform packaging appearance with a drab brown colour that covered around 75% of the packaging surface. This move initiated nine countries, including Canada, to follow suit. In 2012, Canada introduced Bill C-10, which introduced uniform packaging rules that are enforceable by law. Plain packaged cigarettes come with text warning and health information labels with graphic imagery across the front and back of every cigarette pack.
The Future Era of Cigarette Packaging in Canada
The next shift in the evolution of cigarette packaging in Canada will be the inclusion of QR codes that provide potential customers with product information and discounts to encourage sales. This change is set to give tobacco companies more information about their customers and enable them to quickly adapt their marketing strategies, resulting in increased sales. This new technology is currently being tested in New Zealand, with tobacco companies applauding the move because it allows them to communicate directly with the customers. By choosing to focus on the future of cigarette packaging, government policymakers have pioneered a new era by utilizing technology to streamline the industrial space, making it easier for tobacco companies to market their products legally.
Over recent years, tobacco packaging in Canada has experienced a significant transformation. The government has been particularly aggressive in their fight against smoking, and its impact has been visible in the way cigarettes are packaged. As we dive into the history of cigarette packaging in Canada, we realize that it has come a long way. What was once a simple packaging is now a packaging that has standardization, rules, health warnings, and pictures. This article is aimed at scrutinizing the evolution of cigarette packaging in Canada.
First Wave – 1989
The first stage of the evolution of cigarette packaging in Canada was in 1989. The Canadian government mandated the inclusion of the inscription smoking causes cancer on all cigarette packages. This revolutionarized the tobacco industry in Canada. The inscription is accompanied by the Surgeon General’s warning on the health effects of smoking. Additionally, Graphic Health Warnings (GHWs) were implemented in Canada in 2001 to further deter smokers and highlight the dangers of smoking.
Second Wave – 2003
As smoking became more and more prominent, Canadian health officials felt the need to further regulate tobacco packaging. In 2003, Canada implemented packaging and labeling regulations under the Tobacco Act. The rules included standardized font, size, and location of health warning messages on all tobacco products sold in Canada. The lid of the tobacco pack had to expose fifty percent of the package and contain both illustrated and textual health warnings. A lighter-colored background was recommended to highlight the warnings and pictures.
Third Wave – 2011
The third phase of the evolution of cigarette packaging in Canada was where the marketing of cigarettes started to take a hit. The Canadian government introduced standard packaging of tobacco products and banished brand colors and logos from cigarette cartons. Instead, the packaging contained harsh health warnings featuring graphic images. The packets were standardized to focus on the negative health impacts of smoking, and there are no attractive color schemes or unique branding on cigarette packs. This step was necessary to deter smokers and remove the positivity attached to cigarette branding.
Fourth Wave – 2019
The latest stage of cigarette packaging reshaping saw the introduction of plain tobacco packaging. This packaging was implemented in November 2019 and banned any form of tobacco branding or trademarks. The tobacco industry was forced to use drab packaging with health warnings covering over 75% of the packaging’s surface. The plain packaging also removed the metallic effect currently present on cigarette packets making them stand out. The aim of this approach was to further reduce the sale of cigarettes in Canada and discourage potential smokers.
The history of cigarette packaging in Canada spans generations and has significantly impacted its industry and society as a whole. From the cigarette marketing era of the past to the era of plain packaging and future innovations, it is fascinating to see how the industry has evolved. While cigarette packaging styles may come and go, governments must keep smoking’s impact on public health at the forefront of their minds. The future of cigarette packaging may bring more innovations, but health must remain the top priority.
In conclusion, the journey to cigarette packaging standardization in Canada has not been easy. The Canadian government has continually enforced regulations to reduce the prevalence of smoking in the country. Canada remains a world leader in tobacco control, and the regulations implemented have proved to be effective in reducing smoking rates. The evolution of cigarette packaging in Canada has undoubtedly had some strong deterrent effects on smokers. Nevertheless, smoking remains a significant public health concern. Therefore, it is essential to continue advocating alongside the government to effect campaigns to reduce and eventually eliminate smoking in Canada.